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Interview with Melanie Gilmore

Gilmore, Melanie
Englishman, Robyn
Date of Interview: 
overcoming obstacles; relationships with people and places; stories and storytellers; then and now
Melanie Gilmore talks about how Charlotte has changed over the years and about her family.
Charlotte Narrative and Conversation Collection
Collection Description: 
Robyn Englishman interviews Charlotteans to collect stories for a class project at UNC Charlotte.
Interview Audio: 
RE (Robyn Englishman): This is Melanie and Robyn and we're just going to talk a little bit. [Pause] So Melanie, you've lived in Charlotte for a long time, what can you tell us about Charlotte?
MG (Melanie Gilmore): Well, I've seen it change and grow a lot in my 21 years here. Um, when I first moved here, um, I lived off of Poplar Tent Road and felt like we were way out in the country. We'd go down from, I-85 out Poplar Tent Road and never see a car. And there were no housing developments, um, cows, um, no shopping, no restaurants, and absolutely no pizza delivery [laugh].
RE: Wow. So in that short amount of time it's really changed and grown a lot.
MG: It has. There's no more, um, farm animals and now we live in Highland Creek. Um, we've lived there, for, about 8 years. And, um, now it's just it's getting congested and a lot of restaurants and stores and we've got a big mall right around the corner from us and, um, just a lot of growth in Charlotte. The climate is nice, and um, I think people just are flocking here.
RE: That's really neat. Where did you grow up?
MG: When I was a young child I grew up in Vicksburg, Mississippi. And when I was in, uh, middle school, we moved to Rochester, Minnesota.
RE: Big change.
MG: Stood out like a sore thumb [laugh].
RE: Well, you've raised your children, pretty much here in Charlotte then. All of your children right?
MG: Yes.
RE: And you have four children?
MG: That's correct.
RE: Can you tell us a little bit about that? That's kind of a neat story.
MG: Well, I have my oldest daughter, um, she was always wanting a sibling, and every year for Christmas she would ask for a sibling. Um, she, um, is very familiar with the Charlotte area and is now 17 years old, um, soon will be turning 18, and, um, and is looking forward to leaving Charlotte, [laughs] and she's been accepted to the University of North Carolina Wilmington. So she's very excited to leave Charlotte and go to Wilmington. She just met a new friend, lives in Wilmington, grew up in Wilmington and he can not wait to leave Wilmington and come to Charlotte to the big city. So, [laughs] I guess it's wherever you've grown up you can't wait to leave there but, um, she's heading to Wilmington and when she was 12, she was always asking for siblings and, we gave her a present. And, she opened her gift and it was a sweatshirt and on the front it said I'm the Big Sister. So she was so excited because she realized, you know, we're, going to have a baby. And so she wanted to know if we knew if the baby was a boy or a girl and we said, "Well, it could be both." And she said, "Oh, we're having two babies." We said, "Well, not exactly. Three babies. Yes, you're going to have little triplet siblings." And so she was so excited and, um, immediately we started getting a lot of phone calls because she spread the word, [laughs] all around the neighborhood. And so, um, we became acquainted to the, um, I guess the excitement of triplets pretty quickly. Um, and just the, the surprise, from, from everyone around.
RE: Is there a good support network in Charlotte for multiple births or is it, kind of your own, your own, and -?
MG: No, it was wonderful. But, we have, Charlotte has a great chapter of the Mothers of Multiples Club, and, um, well, well at the beginning we thought we were having twins, we went in for an ultrasound, and, the doctor said we were having twins, and I was just ecstatic thinking that we were going to have twins. It runs in my family every other generation. Um, my mother's, um, on my mother's side we've had twins and, um, a few weeks later we went back for another ultrasound and the doctor said, "Look, another baby!" [Laugh] And that's when I, then I thought I could faint [laugh]. It's a good thing I was not standing up and I was just trying to stay conscious. I've never, I've never been in shock like that. I just could not even fathom, I never dreamed, I thought here God is with that sense of humor again, [laugh] going to give me triplets. And, um, it just took me a little time to get used to the whole idea. And, and as we went along, I was on bed rest from pretty early on and so I had a lot of time to sit and, um, wonder how I was going to handle three babies, feed three babies, change three babies around the clock and, uh, so the Mother of Multiples was wonderful. Um, other triplet mothers, would call me, and, um, tell me different resources that I could get information from and different hints, um, you know, keep a crock pot of water going all the time with hot water so you can just put your bottles in the crock pot. Um, start your, um, fill your washing machine with water, and soap at the first of the day so you can just throw all your soiled clothes in it throughout the day and wash it, you know, run it through later in the day. Um, just all kinds of, um, how to schedule the children and just to have that support group of people. It helped me to know that other people have done it, they've survived, they're handling it, so I can, too.
RE: That's great. So have you gone through any other changes since you've had your children, and -?
MG: Well, I've had a change of career. Um, I was working as a CPA when I found out I was having triplets and, um, I thought I would still probably do a little work at home-. [Laughter] Just have these babies and get back into it, um, working at home a little bit and I had to go on bed rest right in the middle of tax season. So that probably didn't make me very popular [laugh] where I was working. Um, and, and I've just never gone back I've not found the time, or desire, to go back. Um, the triplets were very time consuming and I don't want to miss any of it. I have learned from my oldest daughter that the time goes by so fast and, we've just enjoyed all of them so much and we're just, soaking it up and, we really don't want to miss any, any part of it and I don't have any desire to go back to work full time. But so now I'm, the, the triplets, when they were three, started going to our church preschool a couple mornings a week and I started working up there at the preschool right away just getting out and getting involved in their, their little school. And, uh, so all this sort of, evolved and they needed a director, and the director needed to be someone from the church, and so it is me [laughs]. And I just enjoy it very much, the triplets are in kindergarten now and so it gives me a little part time, um, job out with other women that I can have some social time. And, um, but I'm always there for the children and if they have a field trip or something, then I can always get out and go. It hasn't taken me, away from them.
RE: That's so great. So have you found that this whole experience has really, strengthened your faith then and really kind of helped you to grow?
MG: It has. The, the environment that I work in, is so friendly and everyone is supportive. Uh, we all have children, we can share our concerns and, um, just have someone to talk to. Um, and I never, the whole experience I mean, I just never, you know, you sort of have your life planned out, you know. I was working as a CPA, my husband and I thought we'd have a baby [laughs] and I'd still work a little bit from home, you know, and [laugh], um, you know Brittney was 12 when, we thought we were going to have the baby and, um, so it, it, you just never know what God has in mind for you. And, um, then and, and another thing we were really concerned about was, um, you know, it had always been my husband and I working. Well, here three babies were coming, and I was not going to be, it became apparent I wasn't going to be able to work, and so we were a little concerned, having three new mouths to feed and then no finances or, uh, my income coming in, cutting back to just one income, and, um, but the Lord just provided, uh, Steve. Actually, we didn't know what God was doing to us for a little while because, we had the babies and he was laid off from his job. And, um, but we found he was led right to another job and his salary was much higher and it just continued to go up, and, um, and so it made up for what I was making. So I've been able to stay home, and, um, and, you know, and we've been OK and He just provided. You can just see, looking back, how He has provided. The triplets are all healthy, um, you know I'm able, He, He opened up the door for me to be the director at the preschool. Um, just brought me right into that. And. It's just all been a wonderful experience. And we just, you know, I guess at the beginning I, [laugh] I was just, "What, do you mean I'm going to have three babies?" And, but it has all just worked out wonderfully and I just don't know what we would have done without them now. He's just provided for us.
RE: Well, thank you so much for sharing that with us.